When I headed back home to Michigan for the first Christmas since my dad’s death, I didn’t expect it to get difficult until the holiday actually arrived. Since I got here this weekend, my routine hasn’t reflected anything he’d normally be a part of – I’ve been puttering around the house, out with high school friends, working. I flew home for Thanksgiving too, and that had been tough, but it didn’t hit me until my family sat down for dinner. I assumed it would be the same this time around – that his absence wouldn’t be painfully obvious until Christmas Eve and Christmas itself. HAH. Instead, I felt the sadness the moment I walked through the door to my mom’s house. Keep reading »
A note: There’s a lot of trigger-y, very heavy material in this particular essay, including descriptions of graphic fictional violence (in nightmares) and mentions of sexual violence. I included it to paint as clear a picture I could of what it feels like to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All respect given to those who wish not to read that sort of thing: You take care of yourself however you need to.
“Wild,” the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, came out this weekend and I know I’ll see it eventually, but it’ll probably be with a pretty heavy heart. I never read the book, either, although I read Tiny Beautiful Things and loved it.
I could just about write a eulogy for the 2014 that wasn’t. In February, I started making plans to quit my job and travel by plane, bike, train, and bus all across the United States. It didn’t work out. Right now, I was supposed to be in Florida visiting an old friend and her baby and trying not to get eaten by alligators.
That was all for the best, as long as “the best” is held to a moderate standard. I’m glad I got to spend my year with my lovely boyfriend and work on our relationship. I’m glad I got a therapist. I’m glad I got off of medications that were doing more harm than good. I’m glad I started writing and ultimately got a full-time job doing it. I’m glad I live in a nice new apartment and have a pretty good idea of what my boundaries are and how to keep myself healthy. That is a textbook definition of “a good life.” Keep reading »
On the first Saturday of August, I woke up to a perfectly sunny sky and the news that my vibrant, youthful dad had abruptly passed away of a heart attack in the middle of his kitchen. There are lots of things to be said about the days immediately following that, but to put it lightly, it was the worst. There was nothing I could do to bring my dad back no matter how much I wished for it, and on top of it, I suddenly developed a slew of new responsibilities I never knew existed. As his only child, I was the final decision-maker for everything that happened to his remains, his personal possessions and the plans for his funeral. Luckily for me, several family members stepped in to help me out, but most every plan or legal document needed my signature to move forward, and that was scary. It was like a dark comedy film come to life. Keep reading »
The holidays suck extra hard when you’re trying to cope with the loss of a family member, even if you’re not a Grinch by nature. However you define your family, once someone that was an integral part of your warm and fuzzy celebrations is missing, winter brings a feeling of doom and gloom that all the vitamin D in the world can’t fix. Keep reading »